It is the distance of plants between and within the rows. Correct spacing for each crop has been established as shown in table below.
75-90 cm x 23—30 cm
(Arabica) tall varieties
2.75 cm v 2.75 m
1.5 m by 0.75 m
Beans (erect type)
45 -60 m by 25 cm
3.6 — 6.0 m by 3.6 — 4.5 m
9 m x 9 m
Tomatoes (Money maker)
100 x 50 cm
60 x 60 cm
Spacing determines plant population and the main aim of correct spacing is to obtain maximum number of plants per unit area which will make maximum use of environmental factors.
Wider spacing leads to a reduced plant population which means lower yields, whereas closer spacing could lead to overcrowding of plants and competition for nutrients and other resources would occur. Correctly spaced crops produce yield of high quality that are acceptable in the market.
Spacing is determined by the following factors:
The type of machinery to be used.
The space between the rows should allow free passage of the machinery which can be used in the field. For example, the spacing between rows of coffee is supposed to allow movement of tractor drawn implements.
A fertile soil can support high plant population. Therefore closer spacing is possible.
The size of plant
Tall crop varieties require wider spacing while short varieties require closer spacing, for example, Kitale hybrid maize is widely spaced than Katumani maize.
Areas with higher rainfall are capable of supporting a large number of plants hence closer spacing than areas of low rainfall.
Use of crop.
Crop grown for the supply of forage or silage material is planted at a closer spacing than for grain production.
Pest and diseases control.
When crops are properly spaced, pests might find it difficult to move from one place to the other, for example, aphids in groundnuts.
Spreading and tillering crop varieties require wider spacing than erect type.